November 2016


GHANA’S BLACK QUEENS REACH SEMI-FINALS OF WAFCON 2016

In case it escaped your attention a very important football match took place this weekend involving Ghana No it was not the Black Stars in action but the Black Queens, Ghana’s women football team

They defeated Mali a 3-1  on Saturday to book a place in the semi-finals of the 2016 Women’s African Cup of Nations in Cameroon.

Linda Eshun, Samira Suleman and Elizabeth Addo scored to hand the Black Queens all three points in their last group game, with Binta Diarra fetching Mali’s consolation at Stade Ahmadou Ahidjo in Yaounde.

With a 3-1 win over Kenya and a 1-1 stalemate with Nigeria prior, Ghana came into Saturday’s game requiring a draw in the least to make the last four.

Mali, in the other hand, had their job cut out as they needed nothing but a win to sail through.

Defender Linda Eshun put Ghana in front in after 37 minutes, capitalising on a blunder by Mali goalkeeper Goundo Samake to make it 1-0.

The Black Queens scored again 30 minutes later.

Following a neat buildup involving Juliet Acheampong and Portia Boakye, Samira Suleman had the easiest job of tapping in from close range.

Captain Elizabeth Addo made it three for Yusif Basigi’s ladies from the spot after she was fouled by Oumou Tangara.

Lala Dicko, nonetheless, pulled one back for Mali three minutes to full-time.

Ghana will face hosts Cameroon in the semi-final tomorrow, same day Nigeria take on South Africa in the other game.

The Black Queens, who are three times losing finalists, are in search for their first title at the championship.

Best of luck to Ghana’s women against Cameroon!

THE VANISHING BLACK AFRICAN WOMAN – A Compendium of the Global Skin Lightening Practice

Skin-lightening is currently one of the most common forms of potentially harmful body modification practices in the world and African women are among some of the most widely represented users of skin-lightening products.

Author Yetunde Mercy Olumide‘s new two volume book, The Vanishing Black Africa Woman: A Compendium of the Global Skin Lightening Practice provides an up-to-date evidence-based recommendations for reducing the global burden of cosmetic skin bleaching and preventing injuries related to skin bleaching in sub-Saharan Africa and Africans in diaspora. 

The book aims to do several things – firstly to offer an appraisal of all relevant literature on cosmetic bleaching practices to-date, focusing on any key developments, secondly to identify and address important medical, public health issues as well as historical, genetic, psycho-social, cultural, behavioral, socioeconomic, political, institutional and environmental determinants, thirdly provide guideline recommendations that would help attenuate the burden and possibly eliminate the injuries related to skin bleaching, and lastly discuss potential developments and future directions.

Since skin bleaching is an offshoot of slavery, racism, colorism, colonialism and neocolonialism, the historical institutions that are related to skin bleaching are well characterized. The global magnitude of the problem is well defined. Nigeria is regarded by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the country with the highest prevalence of the skin bleaching practice globally, hence the chapter on Nigeria can truly be regarded as the microcosm of the skin bleaching culture in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The skin bleaching stories on representative countries in West, Southern, East, Central and North Africa are also discussed. In a globalized world, cosmetic skin bleaching has no boundaries. Hence, some insight is given about skin bleaching in the Caribbean, India, South East Asia, Latin America, North America and the United Kingdom. Furthermore, skin bleaching is not only practiced by homeland Africans but also diasporic Africans.

The paradigms and determinants that provide social and cultural impetus towards skin bleaching are extensively characterized, since these factors must be taken into account if meaningful intervention strategies are to be created and employed to counteract the trend towards skin bleaching. The chemicals, products and methods used for skin bleaching and the adverse health effects are clearly described. Finally, guideline recommendations that would help attenuate the burden and possibly eliminate the injuries related to skin bleaching are prescribed. Potential developments and future directions are also discussed.

There are twenty three chapters in the book and it is published in two volumes. The book is already available on Amazon.com, African Books Collective, konga.com, Barnes & Noble etc.

THE JOURNEY INTRODUCES NEW SHOW WITH AN AUDIENCE: CLOSE UP WITH NAYOKA OWARE AND AFROBEAT STAR SONA

The Journey has added a new, exciting andintimate category to the online channel. Nayoka Oware, online and Radio Personality, will be hosting her guest Sona in front of an audience. There will be laughter, a Q&A segment and a few surprises to begin and wrap up the show…

Presented by The Journey’s very own Presenter Nayoka Oware, this free ticketed event will take place on Friday 2nd December, 5.00-8.00PM in ever so vibrant Shoreditch. The British-Ghanaian owned company introduces a new segment to the online channel, in collaboration with Afrobeats star Sona, described as one of the stand-out artists of 2014, his previous singles “No Wahala”“Omo Deyi” and “Ijo Sona” have garnered over 500,000+ plays on YouTube and Sound Cloud, with rave reviews coming from leading African music websites and tastemakers includingAfrobeat360Jaguda and Okayafrica among others, as well as support from BBC1XtraCapital XtraBang RadioReprezent 107.3 FMSound City, Afrobeat 94FM and 1MusicNetworks.

Sona has much to say since his “wrongful” prison conviction and years in solitary confinement. Serving as the first taste of what is to come from Sona, “Do Me” and “Coming Home” featuring Jaij Hollands, is a glorious return to form for Afrobeat star. With its excellent R&B and Afrobeats sensibilities, the record shows off Sona’s infectious flow, lyrics and vocal melodies, and is sure to be an instant favourite among fans and critics alike.

ABOUT THE JOURNEY

One world, different journey’s. Be inspired.

Founded in 2012 by Nayoka Oware, The Journey is an online channel with the primary objective to inspire, encourage, motivate and entertain.

They communicate the message that irrespective of what you are told, you have a purpose! This is done through their tell all interviews with entertainers, actors, civil servants and more, who share their life experience/s in order to inspire the masses. To learn more visit www.nayokaoware.com

 

CONNECT WITH THE JOURNEY

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MEDIA & PRESS:

Please direct all media and press inquiries to:

info@nayokaoware.com

Launch of Boost Africa Initiative, a new integrated approach to boost young innovative entrepreneurs

Boost Africa Initiative, a unique partnership in support of innovation and entrepreneurship across Africa has been launched in Abidjan by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with the European Commission. The launch ceremony took place at the Headquarters of the AfDB in Abidjan in presence of EIB President Werner Hoyer, AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina, EIB Vice-President Ambroise Fayolle and Stefano Manservisi, Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission.

Boost Africa will contribute to fostering the development of an efficient entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa by supporting the earliest and riskier stages of the venture value chain, in an economically viable and sustainable way. Boost Africa aims to spur the entrepreneurial potential of the African youth to create innovative and compelling businesses with the capacity to compete regionally and globally, to attract domestic and foreign direct investment, to create new and quality jobs, and contribute to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

As a result of an initial combined investment of up to €150 million, the Initiative is expected to leverage up to 1 Billion Euro in additional investments in a high growth sector, and support over 1,500 start-ups and SMEs across the continent.

Pan-African in scope, the Boost Africa Initiative has three integrated pillars:
–       Firstly, Investment Program : equity investments in seed funds, business angels co-investment funds, accelerators’ follow-on funds, venture capital funds, etc. that invest in innovative start-ups and high-growth small and medium enterprises (SMEs);
–       Secondly, Technical Assistance Facility : a pool of grant resources to provide capacity building and disseminate best practices for the investment readiness of intermediaries, the business and technical assistance, training of investee companies and entrepreneurs, and the creation of local investors’ networks;
–        Thirdly, Innovation and Information lab : a platform for supporting the entrepreneurship ecosystem by fostering innovation, knowledge development and partnerships, and incubating and piloting promising new ideas, as well as assessing and disseminating best practices.

“Boost Africa will help Africa’s young population to gain hope and confidence that they can succeed in realising their dreams and aspirations,” said AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina. “Africa’s future will be determined by the current youth and it is crucial that we create and support entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, generate success stories and show these as examples for other young people.”

EIB President Werner Hoyer said, “Boost Africa is a truly great initiative which will support African entrepreneurship and innovation, and nurture the continent’s new talent.  It is thus a concrete way of tackling the long-term factors fuelling poverty, instability and brain drain – many of which are at the origin of the migration crisis we all currently face -, and therefore make the Sustainable Development Goals a reality. I am proud that the EU and its Bank, the EIB, are operating in such effective partnership with the African Development Bank and other DFI’s to tackle the world’s pressing challenges.” President Hoyer added “What’s more, Boost Africa will hit the ground running, as the first start-ups and high-growth SMEs are expected to be supported already in 2017. These small businesses and the young men and women behind them are truly an inspiration. I believe they can teach us all something about dynamism and determination.“

Director-General for International Cooperation and Development at the European Commission Stefano Manservisi said, “Boost will give a concrete push to innovation and spur the creation of new instruments which support financial inclusion, such as venture capital and impact investing which is in line with the European External Investment Plan approach. Thanks to a smart use of blended finance Boost aims at leveraging the full strength of two major financial institutions to venture into new areas of support for the new generation of African entrepreneurs and we want to give a particular focus on fragile and risky situations where financial services are not provided by the market. Boost is a concrete example of actions that reflect EU’s determination to create conditions for job creation for youth.”
Through Boost Africa, the EIB and AfDB are widening their investment scope to projects that are usually deemed too small, too risky and too time consuming, but which are key to foster entrepreneurship and high impact innovation. Boost Africa is also unique in the emphasis it is putting on a sizeable technical assistance envelope, alongside financing, as well as on its Innovation and Information Lab to strengthen the investment program’s investments.

Boost Africa leverages business and financial expertise from AfDB and EIB, as well as from a broad network of partners and stakeholders, to accelerate the growth and development of Start-ups in Africa, and will attract, make strategic use of and nurture a network of venture intermediaries for both financing and business development to boost African entrepreneurship. The comprehensive intervention approach is expected to contribute to the success and growth of start-ups in order to become significant businesses within their local environments.

“Africa is currently home to a boom in small businesses experimenting with innovative products, services or business models, often leveraging technology,” said Adesina. “This is the right time to support these enterprises with financial and technical resources to enable them to commercialise their innovations. Boost Africa will demonstrate to all Africans that they can and should take charge of their future. Boost Africa is a key initiative within the AfDB’s Jobs for Youth in Africa initiative, one of the Bank’s High 5 priorities.”

Deploying a blended finance approach, the investment program expects to invest up to 25 – 30 smaller-sized equity investments into angel, venture capital and seed funds, which in turn fund start-ups and early stage businesses with high-growth and job creation potential in Africa. Boost Africa’s first investment is expected to be in Telecom Tide Africa Fund, an ICT fund investing in tech start-ups in West and East Africa. Africa Technology Ventures supporting innovative start-ups in East Africa and helping them to expand globally is also under appraisal.

The European Commission’s support is sought by partners and is being currently appraised by the Commission along with its conditions and amount, to enable senior tranche investments to be made by the EIB, AfDB and potential other investors and leverage private investment. The EIB contribution of €50 million will come from the Impact Finance Envelope of the ACP Investment Facility (a revolving fund established under the Cotonou Agreement, which is managed by EIB and is funded out of contributions by EU Member States through the European Development Fund). The AfDB will commit €50 million equity risk capital for investments. The Investment Program is expected to provide investors with adequate financial returns coupled with a superior developmental impact. The technical assistance envelope for Boost Africa will amount to €20 million while the Lab will receive approximately €10 million.

Child-naming and its Impact on the Ghanaian Child

Babies born in Ghana come with one permanent name depending on which day in the week the baby is born. Ashantis may decide to skip their child’s day name and choose a different day name. This often happens when they name the child after a special person, a hero/heroine, a friend or a business partner. They often adapt the full names of that person. A parent who lived in Kumasi named his child after the first president of Ghana. The child was born on Tuesday but he was named Kwame Nkrumah, instead of Kwabena Nkrumah. This tradition or practice is common among the Ashantis in Ghana.

The other names given to the babies reflect the parent’s beliefs, wishes or preferences. The baby has no say in this matter. However, when the child grows up, she can decide to cast away the name the parents give her and choose her own.

05fbd6d427a1dcb5facaa365a558cc33There are several ways of giving a surname to babies. The most common one is for the father to give his surname to the baby. As said earlier on, the father can also name the baby after a hero/heroine, a special friend, or business partner.

Most names given to babies have some meaning. Nobody chooses a name that means nothing or has no significance. Sometimes names are given by fetish priests to parents who consult them to solve their child-birth issues. When their issues are solved, the fetish priest gives the child a name. This article will partly be discussing the effect of such names on the bearers.

Some people think or believe that certain names, by their definitions, carry with them bad luck and, very often, curses. Things may not go well for those who bear such names. However, it is not wholly true that all those who bear such names encounter bad luck.

I had a discussion with an elderly man when I visited Ghana last year. The man took his time to explain to me that there is no curse in the names per se but in most families, bad and destructive spirits, including witches and wizards, capitalize on the meanings of the names to shape the child’s destiny and to bring hopelessness, hardship and destruction on the child at the very incipient stage till the child reaches adulthood.  He further explained that not all Akan names can be brought under curse.

Some names given to babies by the Akans have obvious meanings. Berko is translated as a

fetish priest

fetish priest

person whose life is full of hustle and bustle, Abebrese (a sufferer), Bediito (a glutton whose preference is mashed plantain), Kokooto (mashed plantain in red palm oil), Bosompem (thousand gods), Asuo (a gift from the river god), Nkwantabisa (ask at the junction), Bediako (a fighter and a hustler), Diawuo (a murderer).

Names with funny meanings do not exist only in the Akan culture. The Anlos have names which sound humorous, interesting and thought-provoking. Ex-president J.J Rawlings named his first daughter Zanetor. It is said that this child was born while Rawlings was in jail awaiting trial for treason. The name means, “let the darkness stop.” The birth of the girl expressed Rawlings’ wish for the dark days to stop, and it stopped too (at least for Rawlings). Indeed, many Anlo names are full meaningful sentences. Mawuenyega means God is great, Kugblenu (death destroys things), Delanyo (the Saviour is good), Mawunyo (God is good), Dzigbodi (Patience), Edem (the Lord has saved me), and Delali (the Saviour is there).

Interestingly, there are some terrific Ewe names whose meanings, for the sake of decorum, I will not provide here. (You may ask your Ewe friends to tell you…) What will you say about names like Avugla, Amemornu, Fiadigbor, Avudzivi, Agbetsiame, Datsomor, Avagah, Kumasenu, Gamor, Degodia, Gbormitan, Avadzi, Gbortsu, Agbogah, Gasor or even Woyome? Every ethnic group has such names but my digging around the subject revealed to me that the Ewes may lead this league of “special” names. Some of these names may have started as nicknames, names by which the bearer boasts of some personal prowess or “drinking names” taken at the nsafufuo grove or ogogoro bar but which gradually become bona fide names that are passed on to offspring.

In an epic song, Highlife Maestro, P S K Ampadu, described the disastrous effect of how one day-names-colorname brought untold hardships on the bearer. The person in the song was called Yaw Berko. Berko means a person who came into this world to fight it out or struggle in life. In the song Yaw Berko was hit hard by the uncompromising arms of life. Penniless at forty, he tried to find jobs in almost all the regions of Ghana to no avail. Yaw Berko’s destiny was a sad one.

Bosompem, Bonsam, Asuo and Brekune are all names that are easily manipulated by the spirits to implant in the bearers of such names elements of fetishism. Most of the time, a child with such a name is donated by a river god. Brekune is the name of a fetish god. All these names affect the destinies of these individuals.

Ghanaians are now careful in choosing names for their children. They choose names that inspire, bless, and motivate. The common ones among the Akans are Nhyira (Blessing), Obrempong (a mighty royal), Adom (Grace), Oheneneba (Prince), Ohemaa (Queen), and many more. The Ewes and the Gas also use motivating and inspiring names like Born-great, Prosper, Fafa (Peace), Destiny and many more.

All what Ghanaians need to do is to wise up. We must all commit ourselves to constant prayers and to make the fear of the Lord a top priority. If God intervenes, no matter what name you give to your child, no bad spirit or witchcraft can turn a name to curse the bearer.

By Stephen Atta Owusu
Author: Dark Faces at Crossroads
Email: stephen.owusu@email.com

Victims of Necessity: The Kayayei & The Sexual Health Minefield

There is a saying that starts off by claiming ‘necessity compels a butcher to kill a cat’. For many underprivileged girls from Ghana’s Northern region, necessity has pushed them to leave their homes to head for the bright lights of the cities – a move they have theorised would give them a better shot at life. And yet, for many that move turns out to be a case of necessity fuelling a jump from frying pan into fire. Necessity powering a jump into a situation of increased stress and pain for negligible gain, a situation of homelessness and vulnerability. In Accra, over 50,000 such stories roam the streets. These young ladies are called Kayayei.

The term ‘Kayayei’ (a conjugation of the Hausa word ‘Kaya’ which means load/burden and the Ga description of females as ‘Yei’) is a term which describes groups of young women who traditionally have migrated from a rural community to one of Ghana’s urban hotspots in search of work and better employment prospects. These women tend to be used for manual labour, as porters exploited to carry goods to and from markets and lorry parks in Ghana’s cities.

Despite their desire for better prospects, they often work in poor conditions, for minimal income. asfafaMigration from home usually means a young girl finds herself propelled into a new surrounding without her community ties, cut off from the channels of family assistance which may have otherwise helped to support her. This lack of support leads to many Kayayei sleeping on the streets, despite having largely migrated from the North in search of a better life.

It is this precarious lifestyle, this tragedy of circumstances, which leaves many of the Kayayei vulnerable to the vagaries of urban life. Without a roof over their heads, many are taken advantage of. Studies and investigations have regularly found these young ladies vulnerable to rape and gender-based violence. Some inevitably fall pregnant, while some contract STIs. The urban dream quickly descends into a metropolitan nightmare for many of the Kayayei, creating a situation which is a black mark on the fabric of a country which can pride itself on being one of West Africa’s success stories when it comes to contraception and female reproductive rights…

1268589_546764448712806_163300384_oAs pregnancy takes you out of the earning game, many resort to underground illegal abortions in an attempt to preserve their earning potential. Others take matters into their own hands, by attempting self-termination using various concoctions and items such as herbal mixtures for oral ingestion, leaf insertion into the vagina or even drinking things such as detergent or a solution of ground glass mixed with sugar. Reading that would have made you wince, thus removing any surprise you may have otherwise felt when you hear a director of a Kayayei association claimed approximately 25 Kayayei died from unsafe abortions between January and July 2016. That is 25 too many in 21st century Ghana.

Those are just the reported numbers – how many more have died anonymously and mysteriously due to unsafe abortions, or as victims of sexual assault? In a country where maternal mortality remains a monumental problem, the lack of protection of this community and the lack of education leads to risky behaviours and even riskier consequences. Many do not have the financial means, or the educational background, to appropriately deal with the card they have been dealt in this world. Dina, a 27-year-old Kayayei in Accra, told VICE’s women’s interest channel Broadly, “I have had so many abortions and I did all eight on my own. You feel severe pain when you take the medicine. One time I felt like dying, my body was so weak, I couldn’t move and I lost so much blood I thought I would die. I am too afraid to tell anyone when I’m pregnant so there was no medical attention.”

Though Kayayei life remains arduous, there are still hopeful signs for one of Ghana’s most marginal marie-stopes-international-photo-story-body-image-1477061187female communities. Marie Stopes International, a reproductive health charity, is working with the Kayayei community in Accra to provide contraception, education on sexual health, and family planning advice, as well as HIV/AIDS treatment and gender-based violence support. For Kayayei like Gifty, the support has been invaluable. “I said to myself that this will change my life and it has. I had a five-year implant fitted,” she said.“Now I can take care of my existing children.”

Another initiative Marie Stopes International has piloted involves holding weekly community-based shows which help inform the Kayayei about their rights, while offering education on contraception and the need for testing for sexually-transmitted diseases. The Ghana Police Service’s Domestic Violence and Victim Support Unit (DOVVSU) has also begun to meet Kayayei informally via small group discussions, to encourage the reporting of violent crime in their community and educate them on their rights.

Education is power, and it is this sentiment which seems to be the most effective way of helping the Kayayei take back control of their destinies and make the most of their current situation. The outlook may be bleak – but collaborations between this forgotten community and organisations with the resources to make a difference, can help make that outlook brighter. Bringing the issues of this marginalised group to the forefront will help towards Ghana meeting the new development goals. Many find themselves in this community not by way of desire, but by way of necessity. For this group of hardworking young ladies, access to contraception and adequate support will not only save lives, but it can form some sort of foundation which can help give them a better chance at building a better future. And that’s something every single woman in Ghana deserves. This is a right which the government should recognise as a necessity.

By Dr Jermaine Bamfo (@Dr_Jabz27)

The Future of Ghana 2017 – The Search for Ghana’s Top 30 U30 begins…

The search….

Young people should be at the forefront of global change and innovation (Kofi Annan, Former UN Secretary General)

In less than 3 generations 41% of the world’s youth will be African”, “By 2035, Africa’s labour force will be larger than China’s” (Mo Ibrahim Foundation)

It was the above statements amongst others that were the catalyst behind the creation of the Future of Ghana initiative in October 2014. A time to celebrate, mobilize and invest in young people of Ghanaian heritage around the world on an annual basis at a critical time in Africa’s growth.

fog-publication-2016-coverNow in its 3rd cycle Me FiRi Ghana once again begin a mission to find the pioneers and innovators of the Future through the first objective of the Future of Ghana initiative by undertaking a global search for the top 30 Ghanaian talent aged 18 – 30 years – impacting industries around the world. The search will consist of an open nomination process driven through Ghanaian Diplomatic missions, Ghanaian Associations/Organisations, Commonwealth secretariat, media partners and social media using the official hashtag #FOG2017

Nominations for Future of Ghana 2017 are NOW OPEN to the public until 2 December 2016 via the website. Once closed nominees will be whittled down to a top 30 by a select judging panel, and featured in our annual online publication to be released in March 2017.

This cycle’s esteemed judging panel will be revealed in the week commencing 21 November 2016 so look out for the announcements across our platforms. Previous judges include Dentaa Amoateng MBE, Andy Ansah, Ethel Cofie and Isaac Babu-Boateng amongst others.

The initiative has been endorsed by the Ghanaian High Commission UK and British High Commission in Accra. Who both recognize its merits for capacity building and future prosperity of Ghana. Ghanaian High Commissioner to the UK H.E Victor Emmanuel Smith said of the initiative upon its inception; “It is heart-warming to realise that young people of Ghanaian heritage are mobilizing themselves to contribute to the development efforts of their motherland, Ghana

Future of Ghana Patron and pioneering photographer James Barnor says of the initiative;

“I am privileged to be chosen as patron for the Future of Ghana initiative. It is refreshing to see young Ghanaians in the Diaspora so forward thinking and genuinely passionate about our nation’s future. This initiative will mobilize and inspire a generation of Ghanaians to come together and utilize their skills for the development of Ghana. I see History in the making!

 

Anthony Joshua’s African Dream

He’s dominated everyone he’s come up against in the confines of London’s O2 Arena, but now the champ is broadening his horizons. Anthony Joshua, and his promoter Eddie Hearn, believe the time is right to begin thinking about going global.

His next fight in December will be his first professional fight away from the O2 which has been anointed 112310881-6505030b-d631-4f9d-b7f2-85ae41bd968awith the moniker ‘the Lion’s Den’. If he gets past that fight in Manchester, plans are already afoot for him to make his American debut at some point next year. Eddie Hearn wants to turn Anthony Joshua into the ‘Watford Globetrotter’ and have him defend his titles worldwide as he continues his ascent to become a global boxing superstar.

 

While locations in Asia, the Middle East and the Americas have been suggested, AJ has designs on emulating his hero Muhammad Ali, as he dreams of making one of those fights take place in Africa – more specifically in Nigeria, where his heritage lies, or in Ghana which has a rich boxing history.

“It’s been done before. It made massive news and was history. I think that would be massive. I would not turn that opportunity down,” AJ told the Mirror. “I’d like it to be in Nigeria or Ghana. Either one is good for me, anywhere. There’s no way I wouldn’t fight there. It would be class, the whole history of it. It would work.”

Joshua has a glittering array of potential contenders lying in wait such as Wladimir Kitschko, David Haye and Deontay Wilder. Here’s hoping we see one of those golden world-title boxing events of old akin to the ‘Rumble In The Jungle’ or the‘Thrilla in Manilla’ taking place on the shores of Ghana one day in the near future.

By Dr Jermaine Bamfo